Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What They Do Best is Play

I was taking a lot of deep breaths. For some reason, every wiggle and question and holler was getting to me. Some days are like that. I tried to remind myself that I loved my job, but I just wasn't believing it. We were trying to do a big book lesson on the rug. Then we were transitioning and walking in a line. Next was guided reading groups and our center rotation.

An hour later we started free choice. Being allowed an hour of free choice play is the reason I keep my job. It's the reason I work at my school and not another.

They all chose their center, and then I sat down for a minute, nerves ready to jump. I looked out at my children READY to think, "Boy, are they crazy today!" That's when I noticed that they weren't. I saw two children making puppets out of paper bags. Three more were diligently putting highlighter tape on the words in a book. I noticed one child was making roads and another was building a tower. Two of them were very concentrated on copying all of their friend's names. Another was stacking pop cubes by colors and counting which one had the most. One was writing a book about how much she loved her family. Three more had opened a beauty shop with salon chairs they made themselves.

They weren't switching centers left and right. They weren't hollering at each other or pouting. They were playing. They had chosen what they wanted to play. Is it always that calm? Of course not, but it is by far the easiest time of the day.

I thought about that quote I read all the time, "Play is the work of childhood." 

Of course they were antsy in reading groups. They are five. Of course they were wiggly on the rug. They are five. Of course they were loud in line. They are five.  

Their job should be to play. They won't waste time. They'll write and read and imagine and build and measure and count and create. They'll do it without being asked... because it is their instinct to play.

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